Director A.R. Murugadoss remakes his own hit Tamil film, Thuppaki into Holiday – A Soldier Is Never Off Duty. This action-thriller does lend itself to a remake, and to be fair, the Hindi version is notches above its Tamil predecessor. This is in large measure due to the enhanced production values and special effects are more convincing performances.
But Holiday suffers from the same issues as the original – overwritten, preachy, and obsessed with the term sleeper cell.
Akshay Kumar is in fine fettle as army-man Virat who returns home on his annual holiday only to become a one-man army that thwarts a terror attack on Mumbai.
But before he beats up every bad guy, tortures and kills them without any consideration for the law or the repercussions of his actions, Virat rejects Sahiba – a prospective bride. Why does he do that? Because Sahiba (played by Sonakshi Sinhain a limited role) demurely serves him coffee in a long braid and traditional clothes,where as Virat wants a westernized chic beauty.
This sexism and arrogance is turned on its head when he sees Sahiba boxing, running, shooting hoops and playing every conceivable sport. Eventually, and thanks to a mildly amusing track involving his senior army officer played by Govinda, Virat and Sahiba unite.
Their courtship leads to a couple of outlandishly and un-rhythmically choreographed songs and dances.
The romance is set aside once Virat takes on the role of unearthing the head of the sleeper cells planning a series of blasts in the city. This is when he encounters the villain played by the Farhad who lacks screen presence and the requisite evils to be persuasive of his mala fide intentions.
The prolonged climax plays out on the high seas. It ends up in a fairly well executed hand-to-hand combat, mostly thanks to Akshay Kumar and A.R. Murugadoss’s penchant for action.
Had Holiday’s screenplay been less leisurely (the film is a plod at 160 minus or so), and had some of the obvious plot holes been filled in the remake, it might have been less tedious and more thrilling ride.